Any serious student or practitioner of modern jazz will need the Paul Motian songbooks. Cynthia McGuirl has done an extraordinary job of doing it right. The sheets are in Motian’s own hand, the accompanying essays are by appropriate people. Rather than breaking in the binding, one can just open up the spiral-bound volumes flat.
The two books can be ordered from McGuirl’s site. I mean, what are you waiting for?
In the second volume there are two charts on “Mumbo Jumbo” (one of my favorites). One has chord symbols, one doesn’t. The rhythms are slightly different. A marvelously sardonic tempo marking is “latin.” Well…the song is free jazz “mumbo jumbo,” of course, so why not call it “latin?”
Another spectacular composition is “Last Call.” It’s a perfect melody, an evocation of a sentimental era. None of the gestures are particularly original but they add up to something new. The final product might as well be stamped with indelible ink, “This song could only be written by Paul Motian.”
Related DTM: The Paradox of Continuity